Buddy Ryan the mastermind of the 1985 Chicago Bears defense that powered the team to a Super Bowl victory that year, has died at 82. With his acclaimed strategy and ability to motivate his incredible roster of defensive talents, Ryan earned a place as one of the most engaging minds in football history.
Ryan played a linebacker in the NFL with the New York Jets, and went on to become a linebacker coach for the team helping them win a championship over the Colts. He is most known for his time with infamous Chicago Bears where his powerful ’46 Defense’ helped propel the team to the Super Bowl over the Patriots. After leaving the Bears, Ryan was the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-90, and for the Arizona Cardinals in 1994-95, earning a 55-55-1 overall record. His career in NFL coaching stretched to a prolific 35 seasons. Outside of football, Buddy served the U.S. Army in the Korean War and earned a master’s degree. His sons Rex and Rob Ryan have gone on to have successful careers in the NFL as coaches as well.
Speaking with WGN TV on the passing of Ryan, former Bears head coach Mike Ditka said “the Bears of ’85 would not have been the Bears of ’85 without Buddy Ryan.”
Ryan who was recently featured in the ESPN documentary ’85’ Bears’ though difficult to communicate on camera due to illiness, he gave an endearing letter to players he coached on the infamous team.